John Boehner, Progressive
This was a striking moment from the Social Security breakout session of the fiscal responsibility summit. Amy Goldstein reports that Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the GOP leader in the House, floated the idea of taking Social Security benefits away from rich people.
From the White House pool report:
Boehner said the government should consider cutting or eliminating SS benefits for older Americans with high retirement incomes. “Why don’t we just admit we are broke? If you have $150,000 in non-Social Security retirement income, thanks for your contributions but phase out the benefits or eliminate them… I don’t have any problem looking people in the eye and saying, ‘Thank you for your contributions, but for the good of the country, your benefits are gone.’ ” He also said increases in SS payments should be pegged to the Consumer Price Index, not wage inflation. And he said “we need to get serious about raising the retirement age.”
Boehner is proposing progressive indexation, which was floated by former President George W. Bush in 2005 and immediately viewed by Democrats as a sneak attack that would turn Social Security into a “welfare” program, as the wealthy would no longer have a stake in it.